Mitt Romney, with a win the New Hampshire primaries under his belt, seems ready to take the GOP presidential nomination in a walk. However, if the last few days are any indication, it’s not going to be a cakewalk. There’s plenty of time for Romney to stumble, and plenty of people can easily trip him up -- his opponents, his surrogates, and even the candidate himself.
Romney won the New Hampshire primaries, but some Granite State Republicans were “disappointed,” and some even complained that Romney’s “insincere comments” during his victory speech didn’t do much to “seal the deal.” That’s funny, because it was a very conservative speech according to Michael Tomasky, and one almost tailor-made for the GOP’s base.
Romney's attack on Obama was four-pronged. First--duh--he has presided over a failed economy, and we can and must do better. Second, he "wants to put free enterprise on trial." Third, he wants to turn America into a Euro-paradise for the shiftless and unmotivated. And fourth, Obama runs a foreign policy of appeasement (he used that word), while Romney will restore American greatness and so on.
Let's break them down. The first line of attack is obvious and potentially quite effective, depending on the state of the economy this fall. But notably, it stands out for a more important reason: it's the only argument of the four that is directed at all Americans generally, and at swing voters. It's the only one that's practical more than ideological. That section of the speech also includes within it the best applause line, the couplet about Obama having run out of ideas, and now let's make 2012 "the year he runs out of time."
So that's all right. The other three, though, are all aimed at the base. Obama wants to put free enterprise on trial. Really? Most Americans don't believe that, and most swing voters don't believe that. That kind of thinking is strictly the province of Obama haters. It is within this rubric that Romney utters the line in which his campaign is about "saving the soul of America." Oh, come on. Middle Americans don't think, by and large, that Obama is a threat to the soul of America. That's just dog-whistle stuff to the World Net Daily crowd. I used to cringe when John Kerry talked that way in 2004. I even kind of believed it about the Dubya crowd, but that doesn't mean that I thought it was an effective argument to make to middle America, and if I didn't think it then, I don't think it now.